Apple’s March 2016 Event Wrap Up, Everything Small Is New Again Edition
If you were thinking that the rumours spoiled Apple’s announcements earlier this morning, you’re probably right. Apple’s event earlier today was short and sweet, getting to the point without spending undue time on product demos or lengthy monologues from invited guests — so while those wanting a little more were left somewhat disappointed, there will still plenty to get excited about.
If you prefer the spoiler-free version, you can watch the Keynote on Apple’s website or pour over the new, smaller, products over at Apple’s website. There’s a pretty cool new Apple Watch mini-site, too, otherwise, read on for a summary of everything that was announced.
Did I call it, or did I call it? Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event by telling us about over 1 billion Apple devices in use around the globe, which is why Apple is now such a proponent of the security of customer data, especially when it comes to the government and customer privacy. Apple is fighting the good fight because they believe they have a significant responsibility.
As part of that, Apple is striving to make the world a better place than they found it. Apple’s environmental initiatives were explained by Apple VP of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson, who said that Apple has 93% of their worldwide operations running on renewable energy, with the US, Australia, and China among those running on 100% renewable energy, whether’s that’s generated from solar farms shared with Yaks in China, or purchased from existing renewable energy sources.
Apple COO Jeff Williams told us about Apple’s foray into medical research with HealthKit, ResearchKit, and now, CareKit. While ResearchKit is providing breakthroughs in data on existing conditions that just weren’t possible before, CareKit will extend that to after-treatment care, dynamically updated depending on your particular symptoms.
Those of us expecting new Apple Watch bands weren’t disappointed, with new colours for both Sport and leather bands, along with a new Space Black Milanese Loop. There’s also an entirely new woven nylon band that comes in a variety of exciting colours and features a four-layer construction, and in Australia, the new Woven Nylon Apple Watch band is just $79.
The Apple Watch also got a minor price drop, with the 38mm Apple Watch Sport going from $499 to $429, and the 42mm Sport from $579 to $499 in Australia.
A major Apple TV software update will be released today, bringing improvements to dictation, Siri on the App Store, iCloud Photo Library, Live Photos, and Folders. It’s all the same stuff that was, up until recently, being tested as part of tvOS 9.2.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Apple VP of iPhone Marketing Greg Joswiak on stage, but his introduction of the iPhone SE shows that he’s got as much presentation chops as the rest of Apple’s execs. As for the iPhone SE, well, it looks identical to the iPhone 5/5s series, besides being available in Rose Gold. Under the hood, the iPhone SE has been equipped with the same A9 SoC as found in the iPhone 6s, as well as the same 12-megapixel, 4K-capable rear camera. And no camera bump!
In Australia, the iPhone SE will be available for $679 for the 16GB and $829 for the 64GB versions, respectively. Pre-orders open on Thursday, with devices shipping a week later on March 31st.
Joswiak also took the opportunity to talk about a few new features as part of the iOS 9.3 update, which should be out later today. Night Shift, Touch ID-protected Notes, and new features for News, CarPlay, and Apple devices in education round out the major new stuff.
The reins were then handed to Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, who had the pleasure of introducing us to the newest and smallest member of the iPad Pro family. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro is small only in size, with the display being one of the best they’ve ever put into an iPad; lower reflectivity, higher brightness, better colours and saturation. There’s also some crazy technology called True Tone that uses ambient light sensors to not only sense how bright your surroundings are, but also the colour temperature, which allows the display on the smaller iPad Pro to adjust its output to better match your environment, just like a piece of paper would.
Of course, the iPad Pro also supports Pro-level accessories, with the Apple Pencil and smaller version of the Smart Keyboard being made specifically for the smaller device. Interestingly enough, the upgraded 12-megapixel, 4K-capable camera on the iPad Pro has the same bulge as found on the iPhone 6/6s.
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes in 32GB, 128GB, and for the first time, 256GB capacities, retailing at $899, $1,149, and $1,399 for the Wi-Fi versions, otherwise $1,099, $1,349, and $1,599 for Wi-Fi and cellular. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro also gets the 256GB capacity for what is a quite serious price of $1,749 for Wi-Fi, or $1,949 for Wi-Fi and cellular, although the smaller iPad Pro is the only model to be available in Rose Gold.
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available for pre-order on March 24th, shipping a week later on March 31st.
And that was all she wrote. Tim Cook wrapped things up with a final note about how this was going to be the last Apple Event in Town Hall, with Apple planning to move to their new campus and new auditorium next year. If you missed out, you can watch the Keynote on Apple’s website or pour over the new, smaller, products over at Apple’s website. There’s a pretty cool new Apple Watch mini-site, too.